Friday, March 24, 2017

Emory & Norman

History tells us that when American Girl trademarks a first and last name together we can usually expect to see a character with that name sometime in the future. Well, ladies and gentleman, it looks like we can expect someone named Emory Van Zant at some point in the American Girl lineup. 

Now the big question is who will Emory be? Traditionally, Emory is a masculine name that hit it's peak of popularity in the early 1900s. Could this mean that American Girl is preparing it's first historical boy doll? Anything is possible, though I'm not sure that it would be a very wise move on their part. Of course, recent trends certainly support the argument that previously masculine names can enjoy amazing popularity when used for little girls too. After completely falling off the charts in the 1970s, Emory started to resurface in the top 1,000 names in America in 2012 making it on both the boy's and girl's list. Since then it has steadily climbed both lists, though it is enjoying more popularity as a girl's name these days. It seems more likely to me, though I could be very wrong, that Emory will be a new Contemporary Character debuting at some point in the next year to 18 months.  

Van Zant looks to be of Dutch, Belgian, and/or German decent depending on which website I punched it into and the spelling variations I found, and there were several. Van Zandt, Vanzant, Vanderzanden...And as much as I love researching names, I didn't find a lot on this one with this particular spelling. I will certainly look into it when I have more time. Regardless, it is exciting to see that there will be another character in the works, though my bank account is hoping that she or he isn't one that has to come home with us. 

Another slightly less mysterious trademark is for a little critter known as Norman the Gopher.

I think it's pretty obvious that Norman will in some way be a part of the Wellie Wisher line, though I could be wrong. It has happened before. Either way, I could see AG coming out with a pretty cute little gopher plush, and I hope it isn't too expensive to warrant coming home with us. I am a sucker for plush animals!

So, what do you think? Who are you hoping that Emory Van Zant will be? Do you think Norman will be a friend for our little Wellie Wishers. Let me know.

~Mrs. D 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Theory of Kit's Play Dress aka Who Wore It Better?

Of all of the new spring releases I think one of my favorites is Kit's Play Dress! I spent quite a bit of time staring longingly at it when we went in during Tenney's release though I left the store that day without it. Over the next week or so I kept seeing pictures on Instagram of people who had bought the dress and were showing it off on, not only Kit, but Melody, Gabby, moddies...and I started to notice a trend. There wasn't a single doll I'd seen that couldn't pull it off. Based off of this fact, and the fact that my poor Kit has a severe shortage of clothes of her own, I went back to pick up the dress the same night I bought Melody's mystery book and found my dream Maryellen

I feel only slightly guilty admitting that the first doll I put it on was Melody. (Kit was in another room and couldn't see the disloyalty.) I wasn't disappointed. DeeDee rocked that dress! (DeeDee was also severely underrepresented in the clothes department in our home, so I think that Kit probably wouldn't have minded sharing.) DeeDee rocked the dress to the point that, even if I didn't have Kit, I would have needed that dress, and I am notorious for not being able to buy the dress for characters I don't have yet. (To the point where I have missed out on some awesome deals simply because I didn't yet have the doll who would one day wear it.) 

Did my theory hold up though? Just because Melody absolutely slayed Kit's Play Dress didn't mean that all of our other girls would too. The world needed to know if this was a dress you could buy for any of your, and there was only one way to find out if my theory held water.

So I gathered up all of my dolls to try on the new doll goodies. Then I gathered up the Little Dahl's dolls. I even grabbed a fixer upper Nicki that I found on Craigslist for $15 last year and had stashed away in my closet to do something with someday. (I still haven't decided what.) My conclusion. This dress makes dolls look good.

I, of course, photographed my evidence. I was getting ready to post the photos, both on here and on Instagram, when I realized that I could turn this into a sort of game. (Inspired, just a little, by March Madness, though without the basketballs, beer, and sweaty men.) So, I have spent the last several days posting "Who Wore It Better" images on Instagram. I've left each up for about a day before tallying up the votes, declaring a winner for that round, and then posting the next image. While I think all of our girls look absolutely amazing in the dress it has also been fun posting and seeing what others think.

Here's how the pairings and voting went down. Do you agree? Check out the new poll and let me know who you think wore it better!

Felicity and Addy went neck and neck first, with Addy winning Round One of Who Wore It Better?

Rebecca vs. Gabriela was next, with Gabriela taking the second round easily.

In Round Three, Molly vs. Melody, poor Molly didn't have a chance. Melody walked away with a solid 100% of the vote!

Kaya took Round Four from Fixer-Upper-Nicki.

Kit beat Miss. Mei in Round Five.

And Round Six ended in my oldest's #23 loosing out to my youngest's The Doll Formerly Known As Isabelle (we call her Elle, and she actually has a pretty neat story.)

In the semi-finals Kaya, Gabriela, and Melody came out on top leaving the three of them competing for the title of Who Wore It Best. (Though I still maintain that everyone wears it beautifully.) 

Miss. Melody came out on top with over half the final votes, and I had so much fun that I plan on doing another Who Wore It Better on my Instagram at some point. (Because, why not, really?) 

Still not convinced that anyone can rock this dress? Even the Babies took their turn. (And looked amazing too.) 

What outfit should I use for the next Who Wore It Better?

~Mrs. D

Sunday, March 12, 2017

He's A Keeper!

I don't often use this blog as an opportunity to brag on my husband, though he gives me ample reason to, but since this is both husband and doll related I feel that it's appropriate.

A couple of weeks back I was having a heck of a day with my anxiety. It was through the roof, for no reason that I could figure out then or now, to the point where I was in tears. Mr. D was trying his best, but I was just a wreck that day. God love him, he drove me up to the American Girl doors and dropped me off, taking the children with him on some kind of Daddy Adventure, so that I could have some time to decompress in peace. (Some days this approach wouldn't work at all, as crowds can send me right into a full blown panic attack, but it was late enough in the evening that I was practically alone in the store.)

Anxiety makes exactly zero sense. If you've never experienced it, know that it is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. There are days that I legitimately can't leave my house, and there are days, like this one, where I really just need 15 minutes to myself doing something that I enjoy, something I can loose myself in, to help calm me enough to breath again. I have struggled with this as long as I can remember, and I am woefully clueless how to manage it most of the time, but my husband has been my partner in this journey for over 15 years. He has perfected being the rock I need in my worst moments. If you don't know this monster that is anxiety, you won't understand what an amazing thing it is that he can read a situation and know what might help even before I recognize that I'm in a downward spiral, nor can I articulate with simple words what it means to me that I have a partner in this who doesn't balk at an unseen illness. Make no mistake, the roll of a caretaker and support person is not an easy one, and I have an amazing one. Dropping me in front of that store seems like such a small thing, but it was about him reading me in that moment, and I love him so much for that. 

Anyways, coming back to the AG store, I wandered around for awhile looking at the new spring releases, enjoying the almost silence of a nearly empty store, daydreaming about story lines for a couple of moddies that I'd like to make one day, making mental shopping lists for the Little Dahl's birthdays and Christmas...It was extremely relaxing. Mr. D and I had already discussed the fact that I wanted Kit's new play dress, so I picked out a perfect one, and I decided to pick up Melody's new mystery book while I was at it. (I'll be reviewing it soon.) 

I was on my way to the cash registers, had almost made it out, when I saw her! The sweetest, most adorable mini Maryellen that you have ever seen! She spoke to me, and there was no way that I was leaving that store without her. I've wanted Maryellen for awhile now, as she reminds me of my most beloved grandmother in so many ways, but I don't have her yet. She's certainly on the list, but Mini Ellie is almost as good. Besides, did I mention how adorable she was? 

On the way out to meet my family, feeling much better than I did on my way in, I decided to have some fun with Mr. D. Careful not to let him see my bag, I went right up to him and said:

"Don't be mad! I saw the most adorable Maryellen inside. Her face was so sweet, and I just had to have her!" That man, that wonderful man, didn't even blink. He just smiled back at me and said:

"I'm glad! I can't wait to see her." Not the funny reaction I was expecting, but I think he just might be a keeper. (He's also been hinting that I will be getting a "full grown" Maryellen at some point so should really pick out some of her outfits while they are BOGO 50% off, but I have such a hard time shopping for girls I don't have yet. It makes much more sense to me to get Melody's things since I have her. Decisions, decisions.)

~Mrs. D

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Poll Results: Who Would You Choose? and New Poll: Choose Your Character

In my most recent poll I asked Who Would You Choose? and gave the option of three different dolls. One was the highly anticipated Nanea Mitchell, set to release in August, and the other three were Truly Me dolls that I'd like to get my hands on at some point. 

Nanea was the overwhelming winner with 54% of the votes saying that you would wait to get her above the other dolls. 

Truly Me #58 and #53 were tied with 18% of the vote each.

10% of the vote went to Truly Me #64. 

After much consideration, and a surprise eBay purchase of my first moddie and Jess mold anyways, I will be waiting for Nanea's release to make another major doll purchase. (Barring any amazing deals, of course.) 

Now it's time for our next poll! Inspired by the release of six named characters being released by American Girl in 2017, my next poll is this: Choose Your Character.

Who can you not live without in 2017? Who has come home with you already? Who is coming home? I understand that many people have purchased multiple dolls this year, but if you could only have one, which one would it be? If you'd choose another character tell me who it is and why! 

You have 10 days to vote, so give all the love to your favorite! 

~Mrs. D 

Saturday, March 4, 2017


...Hazel Mei Nari Rhee, a name that represents her Korean and Chinese heritage and her Mama's love of trees and the outdoors, though her family usually calls her Mei or Mei-Mei.

I'm going to do a short bio for now, but am working on writing out a more detailed one that I'll post soon. I'm also working on finding the poor girl a wardrobe of her own, since she's reduced to borrowing clothes for now. At least she has her own glasses. 

Age: 9

Birthday: December, 7, 2007

Family: Mama, Mommy, Bo (2 year old brother), Mommy's parents, & her Mama's parents all live within just a couple of blocks from one another.

Location: Colorado.

Pets: 2 English Bulldogs.

Nationality: 1/2 Korean, 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Caucasian

Favorite Animal: Panda. Mama and Nainai (grandmother on her Mama's side) adopted/sponsored a baby panda in her name after the huge earthquake that destroyed its home at the Wolong Panda Center in China in May of 2008. Mei has a stuffed panda representing her "brother" and hopes to one day travel to China to actually meet him. Her second favorite animal is the otter.

Favorite Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, though Order of the Phoenix is a very close second. 

Favorite Colors: Orange and purple, followed closely by blue. 

Favorite American Girl: Her Bitty Baby, Eleanor-Ri (named after her only aunt who she adores) has slept with her since she got her on her 1st birthday, but her favorite historical character is Melody, who was her first 18 inch doll that she got at her release last August. 

Hogwarts House: Obviously she won't know for sure until she's 11, but she feels strongly that she'll be a Hufflepuff. She relates a lot with famous Puff, Newt Scamander, and his desire to save and preserve at risk creatures. 

Random Fact: She recently cut her hair, because she thought it would make her look more "grown-up". She's not sure she likes it, but everyone else tells her how cute it is. 

I'll add more as I figure it out, and I'll be sure to post a detailed bio ASAP.

~Mrs. D 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Women In American History

During the month of February AGIGer, OneMoreDoll, hosted an amazing giveaway! The prize? A DoC of your choice. The contest? To feature amazing women in American History through doll photography. What a neat challenge, right? You could enter as many times as you wanted too as long as each entry depicted another historical woman. Pffffft! Count me in!

There were hundreds of entries, and I would not have wanted to be on the panel of judges narrowing them down to a top ten, much less the person picking the winner out of those 10! Reading through the entries was so much fun, and also extremely educational. You can still see them by looking up #onemoredollgiveaway2 on Instagram. I recommend it if you have some time! 

In the end, abbydollss won with her photograph honoring Depression era photographer Dorothea Lang , and theluxdoll came in second with her depiction of Katherine Johnson and won a $50 gift card to American Girl. I had so much fun participating in the contest and decided I wanted to share my photographs here on the blog too. There are a ton of contests on Instagram, but I haven't seen one yet that competes with this one. Thank you again to OneMoreDoll for hosting with a theme that gave me, and obviously others, so much creative inspiration! (I'm just going to copy what I posted on Instagram under each picture. I hope you enjoy!)

Raven Wilkinson broke the color barrier in 1955 as the first African American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company. Wilkinson is mentor to modern day dancer, Misty Copeland, and the reason that little girls like Gabriela can dream of dancing with professional dance companies one day too.

Ilhan Omar is notable in history for being the first Somali-American legislator in the United States. Born in Somalia in 1982, Ilhan's family fled the country's civil war in 1991, spending 4 years in a refugee camp in Kenya. In 1995 her family emigrated to the United States where Ilhan discovered her love of politics and democracy. In November 2016 she became not only the first Somali-American, but the first female Muslim to be elected to public office, and she is currently serving on the Minnesota House of Representatives. 

Another entry for @onemoredoll's contest is Agent 355. Agent 355 was the code name for one of our country's first spies, a female member of the Culper Ring during America's Revolutionary War. To this day her real identity is unknown, though there are several theories among historians. It is believed that she lived in New York City and that she had the advantage of connection, either through elevated social status or as a slave/maid, to important members of the British military. She is believed by many to be the agent who revealed the traitor, Benedict Arnold, to General Washington. Her information was a critical part of helping to win the war and create our nation. 

Mildred Jeter Loving and her husband Richard successfully defeated Virginia's ban on interracial marriage in 1967 in a Supreme Court ruling that ended up having nationwide implications. Mildred was jailed in her home state of Virginia, while pregnant, simply for marrying the man she loved. The couple was then banned from the state, their family, their friends, and their home until they decided to fight back through the United States Supreme Court. As a result of their case, not only were Virginia's laws overturned, but laws against interracial marriage were deemed unconstitutional anywhere in the US. 

Today I am featuring Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut, for @onemoredoll's Women From American History Contest! Sally was the first American women in space (the third woman in space over all) in 1983. Since Sally "shattered the atmospheric glass ceiling" more than 40 little girls have lived their dream of going up into space with NASA. Ride was also the youngest astronaut to travel to space, having gone up at only 32. She co-wrote 7 children's books encouraging a love for space, and dedicated her life to space and physics. Though she kept her personal life extremely private, Sally was also the first known LGBT astronaut. 

Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist who revolutionized literature with her classic, Little Women. She was one of the first authors for the young adult genre in the States. She was also an abolitionist and a feminist before, during, and after the Civil War period of our country. She served as a nurse for a brief period during the Civil War, becoming deathly ill with typhoid fever in the process, which forced her to stop early. Her experiences led her to write Hospital Sketches, which brought about her first critical recognition for her writing. Her best knows work, Little Women, was considered one of "the very best of books to reach the hearts of the young of any age from six to sixty." and still enjoys incredible popularity today. Alcott was part of a group of female authors during the "Gilded Age" who addressed women's issues and brought them to the forefront of society. (Little Women also happens to be one of my personal favorites.)

Nina Simone, 6th child of a North Carolina Preacher, aspired to be a concert pianist. She began playing the piano at 3, and at 12 had her concert debut, During this performance her parents were made to move to the back of the hall to accommodate white concert goers. Young Nina refused to play until her parents were moved back to the front, an incident that she credited with her later Civil Rights activism. She enrolled, and was accepted, in the famed Juilliard School of Music, but was denied a scholarship at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, a denial that Nina believed was because of the color of her skin. She openly addressed the racial inequalities of America in her music, though she would later talk about how her activism hurt her career. All together she recorded over 40 albums in her lifetime, and was a much needed voice for Civil Rights in both the music industry and beyond.


Gabby heard about @onemoredoll's Women of American History Contest and wanted to submit a poem she'd been working on about Mary Dee Dudley, the first female African American disk jockey in the United States!

The Incomparable Mary Dee. 

Changing the world of radio forever. 

She took the mic in 1948 and shattered glass ceilings. 

The ceilings telling her that she couldn't, that she wouldn't, because of the color of her skin, the womb that lived within, that she couldn't be Mary Dee. 

Radio celebrity. 

But she did.
In August she began "Movin' Around", Changing the sound through WHOD. 

She had a voice and she used it. 

In a time when others wanted her to sit down and just be, to stop talking about what they didn't want to see, she ran "Studio Dee", the incomparable Mary Dee, first female African American disk jockey.

-Gabriela McBride

Okay, so I know that the rules State a woman in American history, but I think it could be argued that this woman has revolutionized children's literature worldwide, including the tremendous effect she's had in the US. That's right boys and girls, wizards and muggles, I'm speaking of none other than J.K. Rowling! JK Rowling is not only one of the most successful authors of all time (her last 4 Harry Potter books were the fastest selling books in history), but is an incredible champion for several international charities. She's given millions of dollars over the course of her career, and has written several books that were 100% for different charities, including those that she has founded herself benefiting children and social causes. "I think you have a moral responsibility, when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.” 

My second to last submission for @onemoredoll's contest is Edmonia Lewis, the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international recognition as a sculptor. Many of her themes revolved around the black and indigenous peoples of the Americas. One of her best known works, The Death of Cleopatra, was featured at the very first World's Fair in the US in Philadelphia in 1876.

My final entry for @onemoredoll's giveaway is the amazing Ruby Bridges! At only 6 years old Ruby became the first child to desegregate an all white school in Louisiana. Every day, escorted by US Marshalls for her safety, Ruby walked through a wall of white hate while people held up signs, shouted horrible things, and threw objects. When she finally arrived at school she spent several months being taught alone, by one of the only teachers who would teach her, because so many parents had pulled their children out in protest. Despite the hatred that was, literally, thrown at her one of the marshals who escorted her later spoke of how tiny Ruby never cried, or even made a whimper. "We were all very proud of her." Young Ruby even daily prayed for those who hated her and what she represented so vehemently. 

~Mrs. D

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Risk of Shopping While Drinking

On Sunday, while watching the Oscars and sipping on a margarita, I casually placed a bid for a doll with a Jess mold and a hair cut that was ending soon thinking that she would end up going for well over what I was willing to pay. Imagine my surprise when she didn't and I found myself the owner of my first ever Jess mold and only modern doll of my own besides Gabriela. (My children have a couple of modern dolls, but Gabriela was my first. I tend to gravitate towards historicals.)

Now Gabriela comes with her own story, just like my historicals, and I love her story, but suddenly I had the opportunity to create a story all on my own for a doll, and looking at the two blurry eBay pictures I had of her were enough to create a spark about who she would be. The spark quickly turned into a flame, the flame a fire, and by last night I could confidently list off her parents, grandparents, great granparents and their countries of origin. (I don't do things half way!)

The new girl's eBay photos!

I was expecting her to take a few days, but we did stop by the AG store yesterday to pick out some glasses, because I knew she would need them to read all of her favorite books. Mr. D helped me by seeking out all of the glasses and a Jess mold in the store so we could try them on and pick the ones that fit best. I thought I had another couple of days to find her first outfit, but a battered box arrived today, and she's here!

She was tossed in with no padding and is a little loose, but it looks like my Jess mold is actually a Jess doll, though that will not be her name. Her hair cut is only a tad crooked, but it looks cute on her, and I will even it up until I decide what to do with her. I'd probably keep it actually, except that it looks like there was some damage done, possibly with heat, towards the front. If I can't easily fix it I will have to get her a new wig at some point, but that is in the future. For right now she's changed into some loaned clothes until she gets an outfit of her own, her hair is brushed, and she was very happy to find her glasses here already. She has a hard time seeing without them.

Of course, now I get to experience photographing her with a lense glare, which isn't something I have to deal with for any of the other girls. She's worth it though. I am quite smitten, and she's getting to know Gabby.

We had Tenney's shirt tucked away from the release, and I actually think it looks cute on her, but I would love it it I could figure out a way to remove Tenney's name without damaging the shirt. Any ideas are welcome.

I will do a full introduction when I have fleshed out and finalized her bio, but I wanted to share her right away! I'm actually really excited. I always thought I'd be the strictly historical collector, but I am very much enjoying this idea of creating my own modern girl! 
~Mrs. D